The Metro Orange Line: it’s named like a rail line and looks like one on system maps, but you won’t find tracks along this 18-mile transit corridor through the San Fernando Valley. In fact, state law has forbidden aboveground rail transit along this route since 1991 — the legacy of local homeowners who fought against surface rail in favor of a much more expensive subway. Instead, since 2005 super-long articulated buses have rolled down the Orange Line’s dedicated, paved roadway, which now stretches from North Hollywood to Chatsworth.
But change may be arriving soon. On Oct. 29, the Los Angeles City Council passed a resolution introduced by council member Tom LaBonge calling on the state legislature to repeal the 1991 ban — a first step toward upgrading the Orange Line’s bus rapid transit with the sort of light rail technology used on the Metro Blue, Green, Gold, and Expo lines.